As the Washington Attorney General’s Office moves forward with their record-setting $1 million environmental fine, it is important to understand what constitutes an environmental crime. Environmental crimes are any type of illegal activity that damages or pollutes a naturally occurring environment and can include acts such as the illegal discharge of pollutants into a waterway, discarding hazardous materials onto public land, air pollution violations, and more.
These types of offenses can be difficult to prove but if convicted they often result in severe financial penalties for those responsible. In this blog post, we will discuss why this is such a big deal in light of new initiatives taking shape in the state government and give insight into what constitutes an environmental crime so individuals know when action needs to be taken if they have been affected or are at risk from these kinds of offenses.
Overview of the $1M Case
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is pushing for a $1 million fine to be imposed against a hydropower company for significant environmental violations. The case alleges that the company dumped tons of artificial turf into the Puyallup River. The turf and liner spread down the rover for weeks spreading the toxic chemicals for miles and impacting wildlife. This record-breaking fine demonstrates the state’s commitment to environmental protection and civil justice, especially given the severity of the acts committed.
Environmental violations in Washington could involve any form of pollution, including but not limited to air and water contamination. Furthermore, those guilty of such crimes may also face criminal charges. The attorney general’s office encourages citizens to report any evidence of potential ecological hazards that they observe, stressing that their efforts will help protect their community and environment.
Understanding Environmental Crimes and the Consequences
Environmental crimes are hazardous violations of the law related to nature and the environment. These offenses typically involve illegal disposal of toxic waste, intentional destruction of wildlife or habitat, failure to obtain required permits for burning hazardous materials, or violating air or water quality regulations. Environmental offenses have detrimental impacts on the environment and surrounding wildlife and can significantly alter ecosystems if left unaddressed.
Even if certain areas appear to have recovered from environmental damage, they may not be as resilient in the face of future threats due to a weakened natural environment. For this reason, there are strict state and federal regulations like the Water Pollution Control Act in place to discourage companies from contributing to pollution and establish penalties for those who violate the law.
Environmental crimes, such as the deliberate discharging of hazardous pollutants, pose great risks to both the environment and human health. Those charged with environmental crimes could face hefty fines or in some cases, incarceration.
Anyone who knowingly violates these laws can receive substantial jail time and crippling fines if found guilty of a crime. The importance of understanding environmental crime violations cannot be overstated – those who are facing criminal charges must contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Hester Law Group has extensive experience handling environmental cases. We have helped defend numerous clients in federal court throughout the west. We’ve also worked with high-profile clients and protected their rights and privacy from the first consultation to the resolution of their case.
Contact our attorneys today to learn more.